In light of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Pennsylvania lawmakers and HIV/AIDS activists met in Harrisburg today to discuss the state of the disease in Pennsylvania.
Members of a roundtable discussion talked about keeping the state’s “focus and attention on where we are as a Commonwealth as it relates to investing in effective strategies and support in preventing, treating, and educating our citizens on HIV/AIDS.”
Department of Health Chief of AIDS Prevention Ken McGarvey says the state recently expanded its testing efforts thanks to a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effort focuses on high-risk groups, such as African-Americans.
McGarvey says his department also funds intervention programs that target people who already have AIDS to prevent them from spreading the disease.
Tony Anderson of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force says his organization provides housing services as well as food and utility assistance for families and individuals coping with the AIDS virus.
Executive Director Oladoyin Desalu of the Southwestern Pennsylvania AIDS Planning Coalition says although the area has services for those already diagnosed, it needs to do a better job of reaching out to high-risk populations, particularly in rural areas.